Friday, 6th November 2020

"So much of who we are is where we have been" - William Langewiesche
Tales of a Tourism Officer - Fallon Ní Ghrifín

Dia Dhaoibh go léir agus fáilte romhaibh thar n-ais an tseachtain seo!

Hello! I hope you have all had a wonderful week, wherever you may be. Thank you for coming back to the blog this week, for my second post! It's been another quiet week on the Dingle Peninsula, as we patiently wait for lockdown to end so we can hopefully begin to welcome visitors back in some capacity - and just in time for the festive season! However, with the quieter surroundings, it has given me time to ponder! Let me explain...This week, I started a 'Sustainable Tourism' course as part of my job, and in the introductory lecture, one of the things we discussed was the concept of 'What is a Destination?'. This question may seem like it has an obvious answer, but there are, in fact, so many ways to encapsulate what exactly a destination is.


So, I have decided that my post this week will be an exploration of the concept of a destination, particularly the destination of the Dingle Peninsula and what makes travelling to these places so special. At a basic level, when we think of a destination, we think of somewhere we aim to get to, somewhere we look forward to taking a break in, somewhere that's on our list of places we'd like to visit. It is somewhere you can arrive to and have your every need catered for - beautiful scenery, nice accommodation, good food and drinks, atmosphere, the chance to explore your surroundings and take part in activities, relax and unwind. We all look for different things when we go away, but I think what we all have in common is that we try to choose somewhere that offers a sense of escape from our normal routine. 

Photo of some colourful businesses on Green street in Dingle Town
Looking out at the Atlantic Ocean from Ballyferriter

 Not being biased (!!!), if we take the Dingle Peninsula as an example, it's easy to understand why it has become such a well-known holiday destination in Ireland. From the minute you first drive onto the Peninsula, the landscape and scenery are mesmerizing, and even more so if the weather is on your side! The beautiful, expansive Atlantic Ocean to one side, and luscious green fields and hills on the other. We are blessed to have such beauty in our natural surroundings, and I think that is part of what makes our small corner of the world so very magical. The true beauty of our Peninsula lies in the many villages and communities that make up this destination. You don't arrive to one spot, you have the choice of exploring so many different, wonderful areas. No matter what you intend to spend your break away doing, you'll find somewhere on the Dingle Peninsula that will appeal to you! 


I think what makes a destination special is the people, the communities, the culture and the atmosphere. These are the only things needed to create a sense of magic and escapism. There's nothing like listening to traditional music in a cosy pub, or hearing Irish spoken amongst locals in the supermarket. There's something refreshing about climbing a mountain and experiencing the expansive views from the top, or sitting down to a delicious meal at an excellent restaurant, or sampling local beer while touring the small brewery where it is made. I think what makes a destination magical is a combination of all the small things, and it is often when we're away from our everyday lives that we notice these small but wonderful things. 

I realise that talking about how wonderful it is to get away is probably conflicting at the moment, given we've been specifically asked to stay at home! But it's nice to consider what it is that makes a break away so very special, so that when the pandemic eventually eases and we can once again travel, we can stop and think about why we choose these destinations, what we love about them, why they spark joy wihtin us. A destination is something that does just this - ignites excitement, offers us possibilities, freedom, escape, and even more simply, good food, fresh air, a fancy drink, relaxation. There are iconic holiday destinations all over the world because people feel at their best when they're there. We all love to take a break and everyone has a destination that is special to them. In these times, when we can't go anywhere, it's nice to take a step back and look at what makes these places appeal to us....

Until we can actually get to our favourite destinations again, I suppose we'll just have to sit back and remember why we long for them to begin with! And for those of you who are who are thinking of the Dingle Peninsula, we cannot wait to welcome you back with (socially distanced) open arms! 

I hope you've enjoyed this unusual take on the common destination! There's nothing like being stuck at home to make you appreciate all the places you have been or hope to go. Wishing you all a wonderful week, thank you for reading and I'll be back again next week! 

Slán go Fóill,